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January 2012 Archives

Whistleblowing, Public Policy, And Retaliation: Part 3 of 3

In the first post of this series, I wrote about the Federal False Claims Act ("FCA") and that it creates a cause of action for employees called a "qui tam" action. I compared the FCA to the basic principles underlying Ohio's whistleblower statute. In my second post, I discussed the anti-retaliation provisions under both laws. In this article, I discuss Ohio's public policy exception to at will employment and how this relates to whistleblowing.

Court Rejects Age Discrimination Claim Based on University Policy

An Ohio Court rejected an employee's age discrimination claim based on a University policy rejecting the rehire of former retired employees.  Dunaway v. University of Cincinnati, Court of Claims No. 2010-11137 (Jan. 20, 2012): Dunaway applied for employment as an Air Quality Technician with the University of Cincinnati's Administration and Finance Department.  At the time of his application, Dunaway was 58 years old and had retired from the University in a different position. The department had a written policy that discouraged the rehire of former retired employees unless approved by its vice president under certain listed criteria. Dunaway was not interviewed for the position and was rejected for rehire. Dunaway then filed suit in the Ohio Court of Claims and alleged that the University's rejection of his application was discriminatory based on his age because of the University's no re-hire policy of former retired employees.

Midwestern state could see major child custody changes

More states are focusing on parenting time, and Ohio residents may be interested to learn that one state is considering a law that would mandate nearly equal child custody time in some divorce cases. Unless there is evidence of child abuse or one parent causing substantial damage to a child, each parent would be awarded at least 45 percent of time as custodian of the children if the proposed legislation were to pass and become law.

Whistleblowing Protection Increasing for Public Employees

Yesterday, the Ohio House joined the Senate in unanimously passing a bill to set up a fraud tracking system for fraud reported to the Ohio Auditor and extend whistleblowing protections to those who report the fraud.  State Representative Ross McGregor, the bill's sponsor, has been pushing for a whistleblower protection law like this for several years.

Federal program targets those with unpaid child support

The stress divorce places on Ohio families can be tremendous. When one parent fails to meet their obligation to pay child support, the strain unnecessarily increases. People dealing with an uncooperative ex-spouse are now receiving much needed attention from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS is launching an effort to track down and hold "deadbeat parents" accountable for unpaid child support.

Labor Union Fines Upheld Even Without Work

Employees should thoroughly review the obligations they are agreeing to when considering whether to join a Labor Union.  A recent case from the Ninth District Court of Appeals from Medina, Ohio demonstrates that Union membership could cost you, literally.  The Court in Bricklayers' Local Union No. 5 v. Ramey, 9th Dist. No. 10CA0121, 2011-Ohio-6331, upheld a Union's power to fine its members for violations of union rules. 

How legal separation can help protect your assets

Many Ohio couples choose to go through a "trial separation" if they are considering divorce. Sometimes, though, this trial period can go on for too long. While some may think they're being practical and economical by not taking formal legal action to end the marriage, it could end up hurting one or both spouses in the end.

National Labor Relations Board Rules Arbitration Provision Violates Act

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled on January 6, 2012 that it is a violation of federal labor law, specifically Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to require employees to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from joining together to pursue employment-related legal claims in any forum, whether in arbitration or in court.

Lady Gaga's Touring Company Subject to Fair Labor Standards Act

Large employers are not the only ones subject to the reach of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Jennifer L. O'Neill, former assistant to Lady Gaga, has filed a Complaint against Mermaid Touring Inc. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging violations of the FLSA and New York State Labor Law (NYSLL). 

Teenage dream over for Katy Perry and Russell Brand

Twenty million dollars. That is how much Russell Brand is set to receive in his high-asset divorce from pop princess Katy Perry, according to recent reports. Brand, 36, apparently filed for divorce on Dec. 30 after 14 months of marriage.

National Labor Relations Board's Speedy Election Rule

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a new final rule on December 26, 2011 limiting an employer's ability to challenge certain election procedures.  The final rule is currently set to go into effect on April 12, 2012; however, like the new notice posting (now effective April 30, 2012), this new rule is subject to legal challenge.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Coalition for a Democratic Workplace have both filed lawsuits in federal district court challenging the new rule seeking injunctive relief.  The lawsuits challenge the Board's authority to issue the new rule, citing violations of the First and Fifth Amendments.

Obama Makes Recess Appointments to National Labor Relations Board

President Obama announced his recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) of Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Griffin.  Senate Republicans have opposed the recess appointments to the NLRB on constitutional grounds. 

National Labor Relations Board Postpones Notice Posting Again

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has again postponed the effective date of its employees' rights notice posting. This time the postponement came at the request of the federal court in Washington, DC hearing a legal challenge regarding the rule. The Board determined that postponing the effective date of the rule facilitates the resolution of the legal challenges that have been filed with respect to the rule. The new employees' rights notice posting requirement date is April 30, 2012.

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